Keep your RSPs in Order

Coin Dropping Into Piggy BankThe weather across Canada is unpredictable this time of year. The one reliable indication that it’s February, wherever we are, is the blizzard of RSP ads everywhere we turn.

I don’t have any money advice for you. Call your financial advisor if you don’t know what to do with your investments.

Here is what I do know about investing: There are lots of documents involved. When you first sign up, when you make a deposit, when you change your mind, when the financial quarter/ year-end arrives, when tax season (pardon the expression) is upon you. And you need to keep track of them.

In the first place, you’re hardly a wise investor if you don’t know where your money is, or how it’s doing. In the second place, you need that information when you prepare your tax return.

When you set up an account, set up a place for the information. Decide whether you prefer binders or files, get one, and label it. Set up a file on your computer as well; many companies are going digital now. When mail arrives (paper or email) you will have a place to put it, which means you will know where to find it.

Try to keep the companies you deal with to a minimum. It’s easy to open an account at one institution, then hear about a hot deal at another, then find a better interest rate somewhere else… and before you know it, there are half a dozen banks or brokerages mailing you. Unless you have your own personal accountant, it’s tricky to look after.

If the accounts are a bit scattered, look for an on-line tool to keep track of them all together. Your on-line banking may offer this.  I like the portfolio tool on the Globe & Mail’s Investor section.

It takes a bit of time to set up, but provides up-to-date tracking.

Best of luck! Here’s wishing all of us so much success that we need help keeping track of all our money!

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